DORSET began their Durant NCCA Championship campaign with a curtailed draw after rain wiped out the entire final day’s play.

Shropshire had made 327-8 in their first innings and Dorset replied with 231-5 by stumps on day two.

All three results were still possible on day three, depending on how aggressive each captain was prepared to be, although a draw was the likeliest outcome.

However, due to heavy overnight rain persisting into the morning, not a single ball was bowled and the draw was called at 11.30am on day three.

Back on day one, Dorset skipper Luke Webb won the toss and chose to bowl first at Shropshire’s high-quality top order.

Their top three contained two former Worcestershire batters in Ollie Westbury and Tom Fell, plus the prolific George Hargrave, one of the National Counties’ highest runscorers in recent times.

Matt Burton (1-48) got the breakthrough Dorset desired, removing Westbury for just four.

Hargrave and Fell set about rebuilding and got Shropshire to the dreaded 111-1 before Fell (42) feathered an edge behind to Alex Eckland off Connor Smith (2-49).

But backed by the serene progress of Hargrave, the hosts were looking good at 192-2 before a double breakthrough from Finn Gordon (2-50) gave Dorset some momentum.

Gordon first had Andre Bradford (43) stumped by Eckland and in his next over bowled Hargrave (93) just short of his century to bring two new batters to the crease.

Dorset picked up another four wickets, including two for Louis Prichard (2-55), as Shropshire closed their 90-over allowance on 327-8.

Webb and debutant Ben Rogers soaked up early pressure from the new ball before the latter was dismissed for nine by Oliver Currill (2-45).

Webb and Gordon then combined to pile on the runs for Dorset’s second wicket.

Webb continued his fine personal form with another half-century in a patient knock consisting of six boundaries.

However, he was dismissed for 59 on his 133rd ball by Lewis Evans, whose appeal for lbw was upheld.

In his next over, Evans then pinned Gordon (46) in front but new batters Jacob Gordon and Will Tripcony picked up the pace with a 41-run stand in the space of 10 overs.

Gordon (21) and Tripcony (30) were to fall in consecutive overs to Joe Stanley (1-58) and Currill as Dorset continued to lose wickets in clusters.

The visitors were at this stage 168-5 but Alex Eckland (39no) and Smith (24no) were well positioned at the close of day two, Dorset ending on 231-5 prior to the onslaught of rain.

Dorset host Wiltshire in their next three-day game at Wimborne on Sunday (11am).